Skip to main content

ADA accommodation question: what's difference between reassign to a vacant position and change supervisor? Seems to me the same.

San Jose, CA |

I have depression because of work related stress and requested to HR for accommodation. ADA guideline says reassign to a vacant position is reasonable accommodation but change supervisor is not. I don't understand what's the difference. Does the vacant position has to be under the same supervisor?
Besides, I have bad memories and less concentration because of depression, Can I ask for lower performance expectation? What else I can request?

Thank you in advance for your expert advice.

I got it that lower performance expectation is not accommodation. Can someone please tell me the difference of reassign to a vacant position and change supervisor. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 2


Your post points out a fundamental misconception about ADA reasonable accommodation law, one that is widespread and dangerous for employees. You ask: "Can I ask for lower performance expectation?"

"Reasonable accommodation" is measured by the reasonableness to the employer of alternative methods and practices for getting the bought-and-paid-for performance from the employee. It is not a legal mandate that forces the employer into providing employment as a charitable subsidy for the claimant, and not a legally sanctioned excuse for not doing the job.

Lower expectations? What would you contend is "reasonable" to require of the employer? Are you suggesting that you provide half of what the employer is paying for? Less than that? More? How long will it take before your employer has a workforce comprised of 100% depressed employees who each and all are demanding to be kept on the job with lower performance requirements? Think about it.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

Mark as helpful

2 lawyers agree


You've received some great answers to your very similar question here:

A "reasonable accommodation" means that the essential (main) job duties remain the same, but the method of performing those duties changes to make it possible for the employee with a disability to perform those duties.

You cannot expect an employer to allow lower performance, but you can certainly request a lower position.

The reasonable accommodation process is fact-specific and you will be better-served if you learn about the process before getting much further along. It is always wise to consult with or retain an attorney. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best. *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

Mark as helpful

Employment topics

Recommended articles about Employment

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics